TAMARA CINCIK - fashion roundtable

TAMARA CINCIK - fashion roundtable

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With London Fashion Week only a few days away attracting visitors and business opportunities from all over the world, we have to ask: What will the fashion industry look like post-Brexit? How do we make our fashion industry sustainable? 

One in 74 people in the UK work in the fashion industry, employing over 800,000. 

The creative industries contributed a record £91.8bn to the UK economy in 2016. The largest component of the creative industries is fashion, which makes over £28bn annually for the UK economy. (source)

The contribution of the UK creative industries - as measured by Gross Value Added (GVA) - rose by 7.6 per cent in 2016, or more than twice as fast as the average 3.5 per cent growth rate in this measure across the UK economy.

Between 2010 and 2016, the creative industries sub sectors - which include advertising, film and TV, architecture, publishing, music, design, games, museums and galleries, fashion, crafts, and the creative use of technology - grew their economic contribution by 44.8 per cent, outpacing even the purely digital sector which increased its GVA by 23.3 per cent during this period. (source)

If fashion was a nation state, it would rank as the seventh richest global economy. 

From that stats we can see the UK fashion industry is making money and growing. So what’s the problem?

The problem is thanks to Brexit we have a perfect storm coming our way. There are several key issues that contribute to the storm - which I’ll summarise below - but the main issue is that the fashion industry isn’t fully represented within Government. 

Why does this matter? As we move into Brexit our future is being decided by people who don’t know how our industry functions, and what it needs not only to keep it going but also help it to grow. 

Isn’t that the job of the British Fashion Council (BFC) I hear you say? Yes, partially. But like any other business (not-for-profit in this case) the BFC have their remit and focus, which is ‘to further the interests of the British fashion industry and its designer businesses.’  The BFC have amazing initiatives such as its menswear and womenswear talent identification, business support and showcasing scheme NEWGEN, which has supported so many brands including Alexander McQueen, Christopher Shannon and JW Anderson.

However the BFC’s focus is on the top, luxury end of the market and specifically with individual designers such as Mary Katrantzou. The British fashion industry is made up of many different types of businesses, brands and people working in various roles such as machinists, pattern cutters, stylists and shoe designers. So without a union or trade body that we are all part of the Government have no formal way in which they can consult with us, besides the BFC.

Thankfully Tamara Cincik founded Fashion Roundtable to make our voices heard by the policy makers whose decision making impacts upon our future.

In this podcast I speak with Tamara to find out why an accomplished fashion stylist created Fashion Roundtable, is the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion and we discuss how we can all get involved to make a difference.

Listen to podcast above, on iTunesSoundCloud or Stitcher

You have to work with people who you might not agree with, and you have to work with people where you can find a common ground because in the common ground you will achieve something.
— Tamara Cincik, Black Neon Digital Podcast Episode 11

Key issues:

Education
In private education (paid for schools) pupils are supported to take a wide range of subjects with arts acknowledged as being important. On the other hand pupils in public (government funded) schools, arts are an optional subject. With pupils and schools pushed to reach performance targets the inclusion of arts is in decline and double maths on the timetable is common place.

As well as a solid academic background, our children need to be able to problem solve, think creatively and work together to thrive in the impending fourth industrial revolution. (source)

Current education system is STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics. What we need is STEM + Art = STEAM which values arts. 

With no talent pipeline in the UK - other than those from privileged backgrounds - we not only have children losing out but ultimately we’ll have to recruit from overseas to fill creative roles. As a country known for its creativity this is not acceptable. 

Freedom of Movement
During London Fashion Week (LFW) February 2017, 50% of the designers behind brands on the show schedule were born outside of the United Kingdom, representing 42 brands. (source)

Fashion is a diverse, creative industry that employs people who have been born in the UK and overseas. We also work across multiple countries at short notice, New York, London, Milan, Paris all in one month! So it’s imperative we are able to move between countries unrestricted.

Import & Export
If we have to pay more to import fabric, buttons, etc to make garments then we have to charge more. If we have to pay more to export we have to charge more. Will shipping costs rise? How can we compete with other countries? Will we have to cut costs and make factories, unsafe, pay people less. We need access to the single market with sensible terms. 

We are getting to a point where we are in a saturated market, Brexit’s on the horizon, we need to understand what sustainability really means. My argument is that it isn’t just eco product, it’s what’s the long term longevity of that brand…What you want to see is brands building year on year, with a sustainable supply chain and respect for the consumer and creating a business that’s workable, and people getting paid properly.
— Tamara Cincik, Black Neon Digital Podcast Episode 11

The more of us that get involved the louder our voice. Please email Fashion Roundtable’s letter to send to your MP, to highlight your concerns about Freedom of Movement, the Customs Union and potential real barriers to trade post Brexit.

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We know where the growth markets are (creative industries, inc fashion) so why does the Government’s Industrial Strategy not align it’s self with their education policy. That doesn’t seem logical.
— Tamara Cincik, Black Neon Digital Podcast Episode 11

all photos taken at tamara's home in north london by bec o'conner for black neon digital

#dontmakefashionhistory image above of courtesy of fashion roundtable

tamara is wearing AshishxFashionRoundtable tshirt available at Fashion Roundtable


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